Steamboat Springs Amy Charity’s debut on female pro cycling team Vanderkitten didn’t get off to the best start.
Before the race, she worked a full day, drove to Denver to catch a flight to Redlands, Calif., and when she arrived, her bags were nowhere to be found.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Charity said. “I was trying to do everything right. But instead of panicking, I got in the team van and instantly had two teammates digging in their bags. They were completely selfless. Here’s everything I needed. I walked into my hotel with everything I needed to ride.”
Things certainly got better for Charity in the April 4 to 7 Redlands Bicycle Classic. In her maiden voyage with a pro team, Charity was 17th overall in the four-day race.
Considering she joined the team late last year and has spent the winter in her basement pedaling on a trainer, she said she was happy with the result.
Charity was second on her team and helped teammate Rhae Shaw finish on the podium in third place.
“You realize what a team sport cycling is,” Charity said. “It was a team effort to get her to third place. I think there will be a race at some point that I can be the one.”
The Redlands race featured a time trial, a road race, a criterium as well as the final day Sunset Loop.
Charity said she was happy with her results in all events and was instrumental in the final day’s race when she latched onto another rider’s tire that was in third place and allowed Shaw to move to the podium.
It was a far cry from her previous experience when she was a lone rider chasing podiums, but she said the experience of riding with the team was helpful on multiple levels.
Charity’s next big race is the Tour of the Gila from May 1 to 5 in New Mexico. The next time she will compete with her full team is the Cascade Cycling Classic from July 16 to 21 in Bend, Ore. It’s there that Charity is targeting a top finish. She said by that time, she should have her race legs.
“I’m definitely hooked,” she said. “I can’t wait for the next race. It’s a passion without a doubt. I look forward to getting on my bike and improve some of the things I need to.”
To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com